In Speculative Communities, Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou examines the ways that speculation has moved beyond financial markets to shape fundamental aspects of our social and political lives. As ordinary people make exceptional decisions, such as the American election of a populist demagogue or the British vote to leave the European Union, they are moving from time-honored and -tested practices of governance, toward the speculative promise of a new, more uncertain future. This book shows how even our methods of building community have shifted to the speculative realm as social media platforms enable and amplify our volatile wagers.
For Komporozos-Athanasiou, "to speculate" means increasingly "to connect," to endorse the unknown pre-emptively, and often daringly, as a means of social survival. Grappling with the question of how more uncertainty can lead to its full-throated embrace rather than dissent, Speculative Communities shows how finance has become the model for society writ large. As Komporozos-Athanasiou argues, virtual marketplaces, new social media, and dating apps bring finance's opaque infrastructures into the most intimate realms of our lives, leading to a new type of speculative imagination across economy, culture, and society.
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Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou is associate professor of sociology at University College London.
"Speculative Communities is a masterful critique of the financialisastion of everyday life, which provides an innovative account of the role of speculation and uncertainty in shaping the way we understand, and act within, the world. Komporozos-Athanasiou masterfully blends economic theory with political and sociological analysis to deliver a fascinating reading of how finance has colonised our imaginations, and the challenges this process poses to movements seeking to construct a collective sense of what life beyond capitalism might look like. Speculative Communities is both a novel and exciting academic contribution, and a critical reference point for those seeking to organise in a world defined by the logic of speculation."--Grace Blakeley, author of Stolen: How to Save the World From Financialisation
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